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  • Universal Supports Assessment and Planning Tool (USAPT) Building Level Assessment of Evidence-Based Practices for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

    What is the purpose of the USAPT?

    The concept behind Universal Supports for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is derived from the extensive research in

    the area of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports. Universal Supports are building level supports and strategies

    to promote a positive, effective learning environment and prevent a majority of problem behaviors. For the vast majority of students

    with ASD, the Universal Supports defined in this assessment are critical practices for learning, behavior support, and social

    development, especially in integrated environments.

    The USAPT is designed to measure two main areas of support at the building level. The first area is foundational supports.

    Foundational supports such as guiding principles, teaming, and a commitment to working with families should be initial priorities. If

    these three systems are not in place, it will be difficult to sustain progress in other areas. The second area of support consists of

    specific strategies to help students with ASD to learn, function independently, and develop meaningful social relationships.

    FOUNDATIONAL SUPPORTS

    STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT

    LEARNING AND SOCIAL

    DEVELOPMENT

    Guiding Principles

    Educational Strategies and Supports

    Team Process and Problem Solving

    Adult Support and Interactions

    Family Engagement and Support

    Peer to Peer Support

    Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

  • 2

    Autism Education Center, START Project September 2014

    Who completes the USAPT?

    The USAPT is completed by the core members of the building team including the building coach and may also include an ISD/district

    coach leader. The coach should be someone who has worked closely with the building leadership team and is familiar with the school

    building and their implementation of evidence-based practices for students with ASD. The Coach Leader or an experienced Building

    Coach and the core building team members will use the descriptions and exemplars in the USAPT Scoring Guide to score each of the

    29 items on the USAPT Rating Form. The group can complete the items together or individually. If the group members complete the

    rating form separately, the coach will use the USAPT Team Summary form to record areas of discrepancy. The group should discuss

    areas of discrepancy and reach consensus on a final score.

    Once the USAPT scores are finalized, the results should be shared with the full Building Support Team supporting students with ASD.

    The Building Support Team will then complete the Team Priorities Form. If scores are low for Guiding Principles, Team Process and

    Problem Solving, or Family Involvement and Support, these areas should be prioritized for change. If scores are low in other areas,

    approximately 1-2 areas should be selected for goal setting for the upcoming year.

    When should the USAPT be completed?

    The USAPT should be completed at least once per school year, preferably at the same time each year. Individual sections may be

    completed throughout the year to assess progress on specific goal areas.

    Electronic Access

    The USAPT document is available on the START website at www.gvsu.edu/autismcenter.

    http://www.gvsu.edu/autismcenter

  • 3

    Autism Education Center, START Project September 2014

    Universal Supports Assessment and Planning Tool (USAPT)

    SCORING GUIDE

    The USAPT Scoring Guide should be used along with the Rating Form to ensure accurate scoring for each item. All items should be

    completed to obtain a full assessment of a school building. However individual sections may be completed to gain targeted

    information about a school building in particular areas of support. Each indictor should be answered in reference to students with

    Autism Spectrum Disorders.

    General Scoring Guidelines:

    4 points: The quality indicator is in place across nearly all students, classrooms, staff, and grade levels. Improvement is only

    needed for sustainability.

    3 points: The quality indicator is mostly in place. Minor improvements could be made.

    2 points: The quality indicator is partially in place (e.g. only some classrooms, teachers, students, grade levels) with

    improvements needed.

    1 point: The quality indicator is only minimally in place with substantial improvements needed.

    0 points: The quality indicator is not in place or is ineffective. A planning team will need to discuss the development of these

    practices within a building, and a well-formulated plan should be devised to address the indicator.

  • 4

    Autism Education Center, START Project September 2014

    Foundational Support: Area 1F

    GUIDING PRINCIPLES

    School programs supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) should have a solid framework of beliefs and practices to support the education of

    students with ASD. These guiding principles should be based on evidence-based practices and communicated to all staff (NPDC, 2008; National Research

    Council, 2001).

    Quality Indicator 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point 0 points 1. Guiding principles

    have been developed and

    are integrated into the

    school culture.

    Guiding principles are posted in

    high traffic areas, are regularly

    reviewed with staff working

    with students with ASD, and are

    consistently followed by most

    building staff.

    ------3------

    Guiding principles exist but may

    not be posted, are infrequently

    reviewed with staff working with

    students with ASD, or are not

    followed by most staff.

    -----1-----

    Guiding principles have not

    been developed for this school

    building.

    2. Guiding principles are

    based on evidence-

    based practices for students with ASD.

    Guiding principles promote the

    use of evidence-based practices

    across building activities that

    support students with ASD.

    ------3------

    Only some guiding principles

    reflect evidence-based practices

    for students with ASD. -----1-----

    Guiding principles are not

    informed by evidence-based

    practices.

    3. A system is in place to

    address violations of the

    guiding principles. (e.g.,

    who enforces the system

    and how).

    Staff members are familiar with

    and comfortable implementing a

    system of responding to

    violations of the guiding

    principles. The system involves

    additional training or support,

    and, corrective action when

    necessary.

    ------3------

    A system has been developed to

    address violations of the guiding

    principles, but the system is not

    used consistently. -----1-----

    A formal system for

    addressing violations is not in

    place.

  • 5

    Autism Education Center, START Project September 2014

    Foundational Support: Area 2F

    TEAM PROCESS AND PROBLEM SOLVING

    School-based collaboration is critical to address the unique and pervasive needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) across the full continuum of

    educational placements and programming. Teams that utilize a data-based, collaborative, problem-solving format to address school-wide and individual student

    behavioral and academic problems are more effective and efficient at supporting students and have members who are more knowledgeable and accountable

    (Newton et al., 2009; Hunt et al., 2003). The composition of the team should be appropriate to address the needs of each student with ASD served within that

    program. The team may be student level, building level, program level, and/or district/ISD level as appropriate for the system and needs. At a minimum, teams should include educators, administrators, and related service professionals (e.g. speech, social work) who support students with ASD (Snell & Janney, 2000).

    Quality Indicator 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point 0 points 1. A student support

    team (e.g., behavior

    support team, student

    study team) functions in

    the building or program

    to address group and

    individual needs of

    students.

    A support team exists and

    members meet regularly (at least

    monthly) to support teachers and students, and address classroom

    and building-wide issues. The

    support team includes members

    who have sufficient training and

    experience in selecting and

    implementing evidence-based

    practices.

    ------3------

    Support teams may not meet

    regularly or participation by all

    team members is not reliable. Meetings may focus on individual

    student issues and rarely address

    classroom or building-wide

    prevention strategies. The

    strategies used by the team may

    not be consistently evidence-

    based.

    -----1-----

    The school does not have an

    established team to support

    teachers, students, classroom, and building-wide issues.

    2. Team roles and

    responsibilities are

    clearly defined to ensure

    accountability and

    collaboration.

    The team operates as a

    collaborative, integrated unit.

    Roles and responsibilities are

    clearly defined and team

    membe

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